Graze snack-delivery service

Graze snack-delivery service

One of the latest marketing trends is to sign up to have boxes of retail goods regularly delivered to your doorstep. Sometimes it’s an introduction of new products to sample and other times it’s ones that you pre chosen. While this delivery concept isn’t new, the range of products using this service is what’s broadened and elevated the trend to gain popularity.

Over the last few years, the home-delivery snack box trend has emerged and is rapidly expanded. Graze.com is one of the players in this marketplace.

Graze logo

Seven friends, who were sick of chips and candy and wanted a better way to snack, started Graze. They developed a range of over 100 snacks (including pure fruit, wholesome treats and dips & dippers) and designed an intelligent algorithm that uses your preferences to determine the perfect box of snacks especially for you. I was sent a graze box of snacks to sample.

The recyclable Graze box is a self-mailer and fits right into your mailbox.

The recyclable Graze box is a self-mailer and fits right into your mailbox.

The recyclable box is a self-mailer and fits right into your mailbox. Snack boxes come in 4 and 8 snack variety box sizes.

Snack boxes come in 4 and 8 snack variety box sizes.

My Graze box included: fruit and seed flapjack; Eleanor’s apple crumble; barbecue sub with bbq relish; and nature’s essential nutrient nuts.

My Graze box included: fruit and seed flapjack; Eleanor’s apple crumble; barbecue sub with bbq relish; and nature’s essential nutrient nuts.

My Graze box included: fruit and seed flapjack; Eleanor’s apple crumble; barbecue sub with bbq relish; and nature’s essential nutrient nuts.

What we liked: We all loved the fruit and seed flapjack, which is similar to a granola bar but different. The White family’s flapjack recipe has been passed down generations and you can taste the love that’s put into baking them. We also enjoyed the barbecue sub (pretzel nibs) with bbq relish. It was a great combination of savory and salty.

We all loved the fruit and seed flapjack and the barbecue sub (pretzel nibs) with bbq relish.

We all loved the fruit and seed flapjack and the barbecue sub (pretzel nibs) with bbq relish.

What we disliked: The apple crumble, which consisted of dehydrated apple pieces, raisins and cinnamon honey almonds, was our least favorite. In fact, it was the last snack to go and some was left by those whom I shared my sample package. While we didn’t dislike the nuts assortment, we didn’t feel that there was anything special to it.

The apple crumble, which consisted of dehydrated apple pieces, raisins and cinnamo was our least favorite.

The apple crumble was our least favorite.

But that’s the beauty of this service. You can go into your account and rate the snacks according to your preferences so the next snack-pack plays off that information. Two other benefits worth mentioning: portion sizing and nutritional benefit. I will admit when I first opened the Graze box I thought the portions seemed small and wimpy. In fact, I think I commented that I could eat the whole box myself. The smart nutritionists at Graze had perfect portion sizes in mind during development. They want to ensure you have the right amount to satisfy you without being tempted by the bottomless jar. Secondly, I like that every single snack offered through Graze has a nutritional benefit for you. Whether it is essential vitamins and minerals, a source of protein, zero trans fat, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors or colors, or no genetically modified ingredients, you can feel good that your mid-afternoon munching doesn’t throw your healthy eating overboard.

Graze.com 4-snack variety box costs $6.99 each, including shipping.

Graze.com 4-snack variety box costs $6.99 each, including shipping.

Graze.com 4-snack variety box costs $6.99 each, including shipping. Often you can find a promo code to obtain your first box free.  You determine if you want snacks delivered every week or every two weeks. In addition to the personal use, I see the Graze.com service being a good fit for an office as a corporate gift to your customers. I also think there’s great market expansion potential with college kids as a great study treat for parents to send during exams.

 

Have you ever tried Graze snack-delivery service?

What’s your favorite snack to satisfy the mid-afternoon munchies?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of a Graze.com snack box, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

San Giuseppe Salami Company by Giacomo

San Giuseppe Salami Company by Giacomo

The San Giuseppe Salami Company is an offshoot of Giacomo’s Italian Market. The market has been selling homemade, authentic Italian products for over nine years in Greensboro, NC. Now the market brings its products direct to your doorstop!

San Giuseppe Salami Company is an offshoot of Giacomo’s Italian Market.

San Giuseppe Salami Company is an offshoot of Giacomo’s Italian Market.

True robust Italian flavors from homemade sausages, salamis and cheeses to other imported Italian treats are what Giacomo’s Italian Market is all about. I had the opportunity to receive some of their specialty products delivered directly to me.

The Italian Dinner Box includes sweet and hot sopressata, Locatelli cheese, sesame breadsticks, cannellini beans and rigatoni pasta. I also received a round chunk of imported Provolone cheese and Milano salami.

The Italian Dinner Box includes sweet and hot sopressata, Locatelli cheese, sesame breadsticks, cannellini beans and rigatoni pasta. I also received a round chunk of imported Provolone cheese and Milano salami.

I received the Italian Dinner Box, which includes sweet and hot sopressata, Locatelli cheese, sesame breadsticks, cannellini beans and rigatoni pasta – all the favorites for a beautiful Italian family meal. Additionally, I received a round chunk of imported Provolone cheese and Milano salami.

San Giuseppe salami, sopresattas and Italian cheeses.

San Giuseppe salami, sopresattas and Italian cheeses.

I split up the items I received and enjoyed them over a few family occasions. First, I cracked open the rigatoni pasta for a weeknight family dinner.

Rigatoni pasta

Rigatoni pasta imported from Italy

I made a batch of my sausage, tomato and cream sauce for the pasta. You can tell it’s high-quality pasta because it had a nice firm texture.

Rigatoni pasta with sausage, tomato and cream sauce - a delicious dinner!

Rigatoni pasta with sausage, tomato and cream sauce – a delicious dinner!

I topped the pasta with some freshly grated Locatelli cheese that also was included in my package. Locatelli is a brand of Pecorino Romano cheese made of 100% pure sheep’s milk that’s then been aged over nine months at a minimum. We’ve been enjoying that cheese on top of many dishes of pasta since!

I decided to save the cheese, salami and sopressatas and serve them as an antipasto on Easter. Everyone loved snacking on these Italian treats before the traditional Easter dinner. My parents, the true Italian critics, commented on the authenticity of these high-quality products.

The cheese, salami and sopressatas made a wonderful antipasto on Easter!

The cheese, salami and sopressatas made a wonderful antipasto on Easter!

I earmarked the breadsticks and cannellini beans for a pot of my Holy Matrimony Minestrone soup. That will be the perfect meal on a cooler day!

I earmarked the breadsticks and cannellini beans for a pot of my Holy Matrimony Minestrone soup.

I earmarked the breadsticks and cannellini beans for a pot of my Holy Matrimony Minestrone soup.

All of the products I received are available for purchase through the San Giuseppe Salami by Giacomo website.

We really enjoyed all the San Giuseppe Salami by Giacomo items!

We really enjoyed all the San Giuseppe Salami by Giacomo items!

The Italian dinner box would make a perfect holiday gift. We really enjoyed all the items!

 

Have you ever tried San Giuseppe salamis or Giacomo’s Italian Market products?

What’s your favorite imported Italian treat?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of San Giuseppe salamis and Giacomo’s Italian Dinner box products, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

Uncle Truscott’s Classic American Confections

Uncle Truscott’s Classic American Confections

The art of chocolate has been elevated by today’s chocolatiers into something very magical. The creation of handmade chocolates requires particular attention to detail because it requires exact temperatures and timing, particularly since chocolate burns easily.   Uncle Truscotts is a family-owned and operated premium candy business manufacturing handcrafted chocolate truffles and almond butter toffee in Warren, RI.

Uncle Truscotts is a family-owned and operated premium candy business in Warren, RI.

Uncle Truscotts is a family-owned and operated premium candy business in Warren, RI.

The company is the brainchild of Johnson and Wales professor Peter Kelly and his wife Katie Kelly. They use quality chocolates, distinctive flavorings and locally supplied dairy and nuts to create their delicious confections.

Uncle Truscotts uses quality chocolates, distinctive flavorings and locally supplied dairy and nuts to create their delicious confections.

Uncle Truscotts uses quality chocolates, distinctive flavorings and locally supplied dairy and nuts to create their delicious confections.

I received a sample of the handmade truffles and almond butter toffee. The truffle box featured one of each flavor – milk and dark chocolate, caramel and espresso.

Uncle Truscott's handmade truffles.

Uncle Truscott’s handmade truffles.

The truffles are rich and decadent. Each one was delicious. We savored them.

Uncle Truscott's almond butter toffee

Uncle Truscott’s almond butter toffee

I will admit that I’m usually not a big fan of toffee because it’s usually sticky and not good for one’s dental work. But Uncle Truscott’s toffee was different that my preconceived perceptions!

The large shards of Uncle Truscott's toffee were rich and buttery.

The large shards of Uncle Truscott’s toffee were rich and buttery.

The large shards of this toffee were rich and buttery. It was not a sticky mess.

The toffee came in large shards.

The toffee came in large shards.

I shared it with some work friends who loved it and appreciated the handmade treat.

Uncle Truscott’s classic American chocolate truffles and almond butter toffee would make exquisite gifts for anyone special on your list for any holiday or celebration or as a special treat for yourself. You can purchase the confections at a handful of retailers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island or online through the Uncle Truscott’s website.

Uncle Truscott’s classic American chocolate truffles and almond butter toffee would make exquisite gifts!

Uncle Truscott’s classic American chocolate truffles and almond butter toffee would make exquisite gifts!

All who are lucky enough to try them will treasure Uncle Truscott’s handmade chocolates.

 

Have you ever tried Uncle Truscott’s chocolate truffles or toffee?

What’s your favorite handmade chocolate candy?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of Uncle Truscott’s truffles and toffee, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience

Rooftop 120, Glastonbury, CT

Rooftop 120, Glastonbury, CT

As the weather warms up and the evenings become balmy, it’s the perfect time to move your party outdoors and Rooftop 120 in Glastonbury has the perfect patio just for that!

Rooftop 120, Glastonbury, CT

Rooftop 120, Glastonbury, CT

Rooftop 120 is New England’s largest four-season rooftop restaurant and bar. Recently, I was invited to a blogger event as the restaurant was introducing their new chef.

I was invited to a blogger event at Rooftop 120.

I was invited to a blogger event at Rooftop 120.

Executive chef Dan Fortin was previously the chef at Infinity Music Hall and Bistro.

Introducing executive chef Dan Fortin

Introducing executive chef Dan Fortin

With over 20 years of culinary experience, he has cooked at award winning restaurants like Stone Terrace on St. Johns U.S. Virgin Islands, Mantra in Boston and locally at Apricots in Farmington and Trumbull Kitchen in Hartford.

At Rooftop 120, Chef Dan has made the menu his own by introducing a progressive new take on American cuisine.

Chef Dan has made the menu his own by introducing a progressive new take on American cuisine.

Chef Dan has made the menu his own by introducing a progressive new take on American cuisine.

Rooftop 7

We had the opportunity to taste four of his new tapas.

We tasted four of the new tapas.

We tasted four of the new tapas.

The aji chili rubbed steak sat on top of grilled zucchini with peppadew peppers and chimichurri sauce. The steak was flavorful and had a little kick to it.

Aji chili rubbed steak

Aji chili rubbed steak

The jerk spice tuna was topped with fruit salsa and paired with fried plantains.

Jerk spice tuna

Jerk spice tuna

The soy-ginger-marinated avocado halves were filled with tempura fried oysters and drizzled with yuzu harissa aioli. It was an amazing combination of creamy and crispy textures.

Soy-ginger-marinated avocado halves were filled with tempura fried oysters

Soy-ginger-marinated avocado halves were filled with tempura fried oysters

Finally, we sampled a red beet and goat cheese bon bon served over shaved fennel orange salad topped with medjool date reduction. That was my favorite!

Red beet and goat cheese bon bon served over shaved fennel orange salad

Red beet and goat cheese bon bon served over shaved fennel orange salad

At the bar, which there is two – the “big bar” which leads to the sky deck with the fire pit and stunning views, and the “little bar” located inside the dining room – is master mixologist Tyler Devecchis.

"Little" bar

“Little” bar

The “big bar” leads to the sky deck with the fire pit and stunning views.

The “big bar” leads to the sky deck with the fire pit and stunning views.

He made us a delicious martini cocktail with tropical fruit flavors.

A delicious martini

A delicious martini

 

Inside Rooftop 120 guests will find a cozy atmosphere filled with a selection of intimate, comfortable seating, perfect for enjoying cocktails, small plates and entrees.

Rooftop 120 has a cozy atmosphere.

Rooftop 120 has a cozy atmosphere.

Guests will find a  selection of intimate, comfortable seating, perfect for enjoying cocktails, small plates and entrees.

Guests will find a selection of intimate, comfortable seating, perfect for enjoying cocktails, small plates and entrees.

You can find Rooftop 120 on the third floor in the Eric Town Square at 120 Hebron Avenue in Glastonbury, CT. Happy hour is every weekday from 5 – 6:30 pm. On Tuesdays, Rooftop has half off bottles of wine. There is live music and rooftop entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights.

You can find Rooftop 120 on the third floor in the Eric Town Square at 120 Hebron Avenue in Glastonbury, CT.

You can find Rooftop 120 on the third floor in the Eric Town Square at 120 Hebron Avenue in Glastonbury, CT.

 

Have you been to Rooftop 120 in Glastonbury?

Where’s your favorite place for outdoor drinks and dining?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was invited to the blogger event by Rooftop 120’s marketing team, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience at the event.

Seattle Chocolates

Seattle Chocolates

Many Americans love chocolate. In fact, on average, each of us eats up to 25 pounds of candy per year, with females being the major chocolate consumer over males. As American consumers break out of their “chocolate shells” and become more curious about quality chocolate, many chocolate makers are meeting customer demands with a greater variety and range of products. Seattle Chocolates is an innovative line of chocolate truffles, dessert shells, truffle bars and chocolate gifts. Their bars are known for their creativity, their eco-friendly ingredients and most importantly – their deliciousness.

Seattle Chocolates is an innovative line of chocolate truffles, dessert shells, truffle bars and chocolate gifts.

Seattle Chocolates is an innovative line of chocolate truffles, dessert shells, truffle bars and chocolate gifts.

I received a sampling of Seattle Chocolate’s truffle bars – much to my family’s delight! Included in my package were the following varieties: Birthday cake batter; total toffee; meltaway mint; Whidbey wildberry; salted almond; pike place espresso; coconut macaroon and perfect peanut butter. I agree – the bars are delicious and the wrappings are beautiful. I preferred the dark chocolate truffle bars to the milk chocolate. The flavorings (e.g., coconut, mint and peanut) were real ingredients and taste very fresh. I shared my samples with several outside the family and they all agreed on the deliciousness of the bars. We were sad to see them gone!

The Seattle Chocolate truffle bars are delicious and the wrappings are beautiful!

The Seattle Chocolate truffle bars are delicious and the wrappings are beautiful!

Founded in 1992, Seattle Chocolates is a family-owned business led by CEO Jean Thompson. In a state of the art facility near downtown Seattle, Jean and her team continue to expand with innovative lines, beautiful packaging and delicious new flavors. In 2014, Seattle Chocolate Company started making chocolate bars using Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa. More than thirty Seattle Chocolate Truffle bars now feature the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal. Even the packaging is carefully crafted with a focus on sustainability. They use recyclable papers, and water and vegetable-based inks and coatings.

Seattle Chocolates continues to expand with innovative lines, beautiful packaging and delicious new flavors.

Seattle Chocolates continues to expand with innovative lines, beautiful packaging and delicious new flavors.

Seattle Chocolates uses only all natural and kosher certified ingredients. They strive to source only non-GMO ingredients. Seattle Chocolates are available in gourmet and specialty shops, and at more than 8,000 grocery stores nationwide. You can also purchase their products through their website or on Amazon. The truffle bars retail for $3.50 a bar, priced in line with similar gourmet chocolate bars.

The bars were delicious. We were sad to see them gone!

The bars were delicious. We were sad to see them gone!

 

 

Have you ever tried Seattle Chocolates?

Do you prefer milk or dark chocolate?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of Seattle Chocolates truffle bars, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

Fudge Everything! Sea Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Sauces

Fudge Everything! Sea Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Sauces

If you’ve thought that the best ice cream sauces you could get for at home enjoyment came from a squeeze bottle, let me introduce you to Fudge Everything caramel and chocolate sauces.

Fudge Everything! Sea Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Sauces

Fudge Everything! Sea Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Sauces

Fudge Everything is a New England artisan company founded by Anne and Debbie. Fond memories of eating ice cream doused in rich, delicious chocolate sauce homemade by their Mom prompted them to take a childhood recipe and enhance it into their ever-delectable fudge sauce, Fudge Everything!

Fudge Everything is a homemade rich, delicious chocolate sauce!

Fudge Everything is a homemade rich, delicious chocolate sauce!

Fudge Everything uses high quality, all real ingredients like cream, premium cocoa powder and butter. They never use any corn syrup or preservatives and it’s gluten free.

You can use the sauces to dress up your desserts, as a crafty confection, or a decadent drizzle for fruit, chips or bacon. We’ve been going traditional and using it as a topping for ice cream.

We’ve been using it as a topping for ice cream.

We’ve been using it as a topping for ice cream.

The fudge sauce is deep, dark and delicious! The caramel sauce has a hint of salt and is rich and buttery. We’ve enjoyed both!

The caramel sauce has a hint of salt and is rich and buttery.

The caramel sauce has a hint of salt and is rich and buttery.

Fudge Everything sauces costs $12 a jar, or $20 for the combo package (one of each jar). Right now you can find it at select specialty stores, farmer’s markets and events across New England, as well as you can purchase it through the Fudge Everything website.

You can purchase the sauces through the Fudge Everything website.

You can purchase the sauces through the Fudge Everything website.

Fudge Everything sauces are so rich and so good, you’ll never want to resort to the squirt bottle kind again!

You’ll never want to resort to the squirt bottle kind again!

You’ll never want to resort to the squirt bottle kind again!

 

Have you ever tried Fudge Everything sauces?

What’s your favorite ice cream topping?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of Fudge Everything chocolate and caramel sauces, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

Healthy Solutions Spice Blends

Healthy Solutions Spice Blends

Healthy Solutions Spice Blends is a spice company dedicated to providing families with an affordable, and more importantly, healthy alternative in creating flavorful gourmet-tasting meals in minutes. They are perfect for people who love to cook homemade meals with a no salt and no sugar option to add flavor to their favorite foods.

Healthy Solutions Spice Blends

Healthy Solutions Spice Blends

Healthy Solutions’ spice blends contain no fillers or preservatives, no MSG, are low in carbohydrates and most of the blends have no salt or sugar. The variety of spice blends flavors make for easy preparation when cooking with beef, poultry, pork and seafood. Each blend comes in a zip top packet so it is fresh and easy for storage and reuse.

I was offered the opportunity to compete in Healthy Solutions’ first annual spice blends blogger recipe challenge. Each participant received one packet of Healthy Solutions Spice Blends of their choice to cook with for free. Each participant must develop an original recipe, using the spice packet. Recipes will be judged based on taste, visual appeal, creativity and crowd appeal.

I chose the lemon pepper scallops spice packet – a savory pepper with refreshing zest of lemon citrus blend. With my spice packet, I developed a recipe for roasted cauliflower. It was so delicious that even my husband, who normally doesn’t eat this vegetable, ate half of the bowl! Give it a try and let me know what you think!

 

Lemon Pepper and Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

1 tbsp Healthy Solutions lemon pepper scallops spice blend

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp lemon juice and zest (1 lemon)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped

1 head of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets

Parmesan cheese

Whisk together the first seven ingredients. It will look like a wet marinade.

Whisk together - it will look like a wet marinade.

Whisk together – it will look like a wet marinade.

Place the cut cauliflower florets in a quart-sized zip lock bag. Add in the wet marinade. Close the bag and massage the marinade onto the cauliflower.

Massage the marinade onto the cauliflower.

Massage the marinade onto the cauliflower.

Prepare a 13×9” baking dish with non-stick spray. Place the marinated cauliflower into the pan and roast in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes at 425 degrees. Turn the cauliflower once, half way through the cooking time.

Place the marinated cauliflower into the pan and roast in the oven.

Place the marinated cauliflower into the pan and roast in the oven.

The cauliflower is cooked when you can insert a fork easily into the florets. Remove it from the oven and sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese.

The cauliflower is cooked when you can insert a fork easily into the florets.

The cauliflower is cooked when you can insert a fork easily into the florets.

Serve it hot. I paired it with grilled chicken and steamed green beans. Makes 4 servings.

I paired the roasted cauliflower with grilled chicken and steamed green beans.

I paired the roasted cauliflower with grilled chicken and steamed green beans.

Healthy Solutions Spice Blends can be found near the seafood and meat counters in supermarkets and specialty stores throughout the US. Here in Connecticut you can find it at Highland Park Markets, Whole Foods and Shop Rite. They retail for $3.29 a packet – with one packet enough for a few meals.

Healthy Solutions Spice Blends can be found near the seafood and meat counters in supermarkets.

Healthy Solutions Spice Blends can be found near the seafood and meat counters in supermarkets.

Have you ever cooked with Healthy Solutions Spice Blends?

What’s your favorite recipe using lemon and pepper?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of Healthy Solutions Spice Blend, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.